NGOs decry ‘continuous’ use of pushbacks in Greek-Turkish border

NGOs decry ‘continuous’ use of pushbacks in Greek-Turkish border

Three nongovernmental organizations issued a report on Wednesday decrying what they described as the “continuous and uninterrupted” practice of forced deportations of third-country nationals who enter Greece via its land border with Turkey.

The 30-page document compiled by the Greek Council for Refugees, the Arsis Association for the Social Support of Youth and Human Rights contains 39 testimonies which they say show the practice is used extensively, despite the “silence and denial” by the responsible authorities.

“The testimonies… substantiate the continuous and uninterrupted use of the illegal practice of pushbacks,” the report says.

“They also reveal an even more alarming array of practices and patterns calling for further investigation; it is particularly alarming that the persons involved in implementing the practice of pushbacks speak Greek, as well as other languages, while reportedly wearing either police or military clothing.”

The testimonies also showed that illegal deportations often include the use of violence, which poses “a threat for the rule of law” in the country, it added.

Τhe three NGOs reiterated their call for a thorough investigation into reported incidents and an end to refoulement, the legal term for the practice, which violates Greek, EU law, and international law.

The GCR has repeatedly raised concerns over pushbacks at the Evros border region, publishing a similar report in February. 

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